Vienna report, 10 October 2006
When I looked at yesterday's OOP, I was rather disappointed and not sure whether to go to the tourney. But I had arranged to meet another Austrian fan (M.) from rogerfederer.com, so I went.
As I am not a patriot, I decided to skip the Austrian Koubek and go to the small court instead, mainly because of the atmosphere, it is a very small court and one is very close to the players. So I convinced M. to join me for Grosjean against Kubot (Polish qualifier). There was hardly anyone there and we chatted about Roger's merits as a man and a tennis player.
And then Richard came along with Eric and they sat down not too far away from us. I told M. about it. As it is well known on rogerfederer.com that I like Richard, she immediately said, we have to do something. I was reluctant, you can imagine, I was not willing to behave like a teenie asking for an autograph, but M. insisted. And then she asked the decisive question: Do you speak French and I said yes. I some how felt, if poor Richard is asked for autographs, at least someone should do it in decent French.
So we moved and placed ourselvers right behind him and his coach. There were two kids asking for a signature, but most people did not know who he was. M. was all respect: This man had beaten Roger once. She kept pushing me, but I did not even have a proper piece of paper where he could have signed. M. kindly offered her programme. Now, then: When the kids were leaving, I addressed him and said: please one for me too. The signature is unreadable. When he gave it back to me, I said: All the best for tomorrow's match. There was a slight smile and he said very politely "ah, merci." And that was it.
And then we watched the whole set, which Seb lost. It was not the best of tennis from both players. Richard talked a lot with Eric, but I could only catch little phrases without context.
After the first set, Richard left and I addressed Eric and asked for the time when Richard would be playing today as the OOP had not been out officially. He looked a bit embarrassed at first, but when he noticed that nothing more would come, he said twice: at 1 pm. So you know what I will be doing today.
Richard is taller than one would think, but his hanging shoulders still give him a boy's appearance. He has great eyes, every model would envy those long, dense eye-lashes. He bites his nails....M. called him innocence personified and she has a point there.